Katrina Oral History

Stacy Parker Aab has three posts [1] [2] [3] at Huffington Post to describe her oral history project: The Katrina Experience (project home page). The blog entries have excerpts: A 30-year old guy at a shelter. A physician from a New Orleans hospital describing how things changed in an emergency and with no technology. A woman describing how the storm surge flooded the first floor of their home in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. A couple discussing having to gut and rebuild their flooded New Orleans home. A roofer describing what it was like in the Ninth Ward during the hurricane and aftermath.

My name is Stacy Parker Aab and I’m a writer here in Houston. For the past year I have interviewed Americans about their Katrina experiences.

We talk about the hurricane and the aftermath. We talk about what it’s been like to survive, and for some, to thrive. We talk about crimes. We talk about epiphanies. We talk about their lives before. We talk about their dreams ahead.

Katrina is not over. Far from it. Therefore, I will keep chronicling the lives of those who survived. I will also talk to people whose role, or calling, is to work with survivors.

Using the Studs Terkel approach, I’ve shaped those interviews into oral history essays. I’ve posted several essays on the project ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on August 31, 2006 in • Online Oral History CollectionsOral history in the news
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Audio in the museum setting

Brad Klein of Acoustiguide is the guest at Transom.org (a way to get new work into public radio). He discusses making audio tours for museums in a two-part series. In Part 2, he addresses using oral history recordings.

Using oral histories to complement museum exhibitions is a wonderful, and underutilized technique. It was used effectively in the Oakland Museum of California’s, “What’s Going On?—California and the Vietnam Era”, produced in 2004-2005. For that exhibition, Acoustiguide played a consulting role, advising the museum on technical and production considerations. Museum staff then spent a year or so collecting their own tape from Vietnam vets and others, documenting the profound effects of the war on the state of California.

One portion of the exhibition included the fuselage of a period airplane, and you could sit inside and listen to vets like Charles Benninghoff recall their trip home ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on August 28, 2006 in • Afterwards
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Adventures in Family History Research

Found Memory Lane, a part of Sasha’s Roots (while egosearching, of course) I love the tagline: “A journal of my adventures in archiving and family history research - and the technology and resources I use to pursue it.”

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • Links
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Loma Prieta Earthquake Oral History

UC Santa Cruz, near the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, announces publication of oral histories of the quake. Timely in light of the fact that I just read a book on California geology; the book concludes with a description of that quake. Here’s a link to the collection

From the introduction to the online transcripts:

On October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas Fault shook the Central Coast of California and lasted for fifteen seconds. The epicenter of the quake lay near Loma Prieta Peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about ten miles northeast of the city of Santa Cruz, deep in the redwoods of Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The focus point was at a depth of ten miles. This earthquake killed sixty-three people and injured 3,757 others, and caused an estimated six billion dollars in property damage. It was the largest earthquake to occur on the San Andreas fault since the great San Francisco earthquake in April ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on August 25, 2006 in • Online Oral History Collections
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Record History, then Podcast (or videoblog) it

[updated] It’s a growing trend to plan to deliver projects as podcasts. From Florida to Scotland: Univeristy of West Florida will podcast history of Pensacola’s black community from interviews conducted with video. From Scotland comes news of a plan to record recollections of classmates of author Dame Muriel Spark, an alum of James Gillespie’s High School. (The school was the basis for Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.) They plan to make the histories available as podcasts.

I’m seeing a trend here in the news stories that show up about oral history projects. First the one from Edinburgh, and then the one from Florida. Both of these are projects in early stages—proposal and interviewing. I suspect that we’ll see more oral history projects that are conceived as having a “deliver it on the web” element to it. (I have a query in to someone associated with the Florida project about their delivery methods. Since it’s being recorded on video, will these be converted to audio for audio podcasts, or videoblogs? I don’t know, I hope to find out.)

More on Florida:

The project brings together Pensacola’s African-American Heritage Society and West Florida Historic ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on August 09, 2006 in • AfterwardsOral history in the news
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